NFL Free Agency 2013: Top 50 Free Agents To Test The Market
Top 50 Free Agents
Even during the off-season the NFL has managed to create a sense of excitement for its fans. Whether it is the NFL Combine, which concluded last week, or the start of training camp, the league has managed to keep the fans entertained the whole year through. The next off-season event to capture the attention of the fans is set to take place on Tuesday, when the NFL Free Agency 2013 gets underway.
Last season’s free agency period drew unprecedented attention when it became clear that Peyton Manning was going to be on the market. While this season’s talent pool may not contain one of the best quarterbacks to have ever played the game, it still boasts enough talent to keep the football world on the edge of their seats.
The free agents this season run deep in quality starting potential. There are several game-changers and immediate starters among the group, and if the right team lands the right free agents, the landscape of the NFL could change drastically.
Keeping track of who is available and who has been re-signed or taken off of the market can be difficult, so the following is a list of the top 50 free agents ready to make a difference on a new team. The list is made up of who is available at this time and does not include players that are rumored to be released, even though the rumors are likely to be true.
If you think someone is on this list that shouldn’t be, or disagree with the order, please feel free to leave a comment in the space below, or reach out to us on twitter using the hashtag #RML, for Rant My Life.
50. Israel Idonije
There could have been 10 different players to start this list with, but Isreal Idonije offers just enough production at just the right price to start us off right.
49. Michael Turner
After spending the last five seasons as a productive member of the Atlanta Falcons, Michael Turner was let go due to his diminishing skill set. He still has enough in the tank to be successful in the right situation.
48. Glen Dorsey
Glen Dorsey spent the last five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, but the chances of him returning in 2013 are very slim Dorsey never really lived up to the expectations that were placed on him when he came into the league. A shift in scheme may have had more to do with that than anything else, and another team could end up getting a steal in free agency.
47. Eric Winston
A seven year veteran, Eric Winston can bring stability to many of the lines across the league. The fact that Kansas City only took advantage of his services for one season may be cause for concern.
46. Donnie Avery
Donnie Avery found ways to shine for the Indianapolis Colts last season, securing 60 catches for 781 yards. His only problem was getting into the end zone, something he was only able to do three times. He could be a solid addition to a receiving corps.
45. Connor Barwin
Connor Barwin watched his sack total drop from 11.5 in 2011, to just three in 2012. It was not the type of season that will land Barwin a large paycheck, but he is still young and has a ton of potential.
44. LaRod Stephens-Howling
He won't be on any team's radar as a starting running back, but LaRod Stephens-Howling can be better than your average back-up.
43. Victor Butler
Victor Butler has been playing behind DeMarcus Ware for the last four seasons and is ready to step out on his own. He has the ability to become a difference making pass rusher.
42. Brandon Gibson
Brandon Gibson was a bit streaky last season, but was a major part of the St. Louis Rams offense, especially when injuries struck the wide receiving corps.
41. Osi Umenyiora
Osi Umenyiora recently proclaimed that he would be the Defensive MVP next season. His confidence is good to see, but he may want to set his goals a little lower to start out.
40. Kenny Phillips
Kenny Phillips has played the last five seasons for the New York Giants and has grown into a steady option at the safety position.
39. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Things may not have worked out with the Philadelphia Eagles , but Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie should still be a serviceable defensive back in 2013.
38. Richard Seymour
Health has been an issue for Richard Seymour over the last couple of seasons, but when healthy, Seymour is among the most disruptive defensive linemen in the league.
37. James Harrison
Former Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison is the latest former stud to be released to the market. Age and injuries may have slowed him down a step, but Harrison is sure to add some pop to someone's defense.
36. Brandon Moore
The New York Jets may just let Brandon Moore walk simply to distance themselves from the embarrassment of the "Butt Fumble," but they will be missing out on a talented young player that is much more than what he is remembered for.
35. Desmond Bryant
Despite his recent misdemeanor criminal mischief charge, Desmond Bryant has a decent upside. He is relatively young (27) and can disrupt a line from the inside. Add Bryant to the right line and he could turn a good group to a dominant one.
34. Dwight Freeney
One of the most accomplished pass rushers in Colts history, Dwight Freeney became a victim of age and is now on the free market. He surely saw it coming though, after all, they did release Peyton Manning last season.
33. Keenan Lewis
Keenan Lewis has been putting together a solid career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and will be a nice addition to any secondary in the NFL.
32. Chris Houston
Chris Houston is not going to blow anyone away with his blazing speed, but he won't give up the big play very often either. In a free agent market deep at corner, Houston is a solid option that should come at a team friendly price.
31. Rashard Mendenhall
Injuries have hampered Rashard Mendenhall's career thus far, but it was his attitude that precluded his exit from Pittsburgh. If he can stay healthy and is properly motivated, Mendenhall could be an impact player.
30. John Abraham
John Abraham played less snaps last season than any other time in his career. He will still be highly recruited by teams in need of a premier pass rusher.
29. Anthony Spencer
Anthony Spencer fell victim to the Dallas Cowboys' cap strains, but one team's loss will be another team's gain.
28. Michael Bennett
Michael Bennett has already been drawing the attention of several teams in the NFL. He likely will not remain a free agent for long.
27. Fred Davis
An Achilles injury cut last season short for Fred Davis, but a healthy Davis is a weapon for any team with a need at tight end.
26. Glover Quin
Glover Quin was a major part of the Houston Texans defense last season, and while not the best free agent option at safety, he will be a solid starter for a team next season.
25. Phil Loadholt
Reliable offensive lineman are always a commodity in the free agent market and Phil Loadholt will prove to be more than reliable in the years to come.
24. Danny Amendola
It would be scary to think of what Danny Amendola could do if he were able to stay healthy for an entire season.
23. Jared Cook
Jared Cook often got lost in the Tennessee Titans offense, but when they used the versatile tight end, the results were often explosive.
22. Aqib Talib
Despite the off-field issues that have darkened Aqib Talib's reputation, he made an immense difference to the New England Patriots secondary. He is among the best cornerbacks on the market.
21. Dustin Keller
Not too long ago, Dustin Keller was thought to be the next big thing at the tight end position. A change of scenery could push him back into that conversation once more.
20. Steven Jackson
Steven Jackson may be done running for the Rams, but he is certain to make a difference for another team in 2013.
19. Martellus Bennet
After wasting away for a couple of year's in Dallas, Martellus Bennett broke out of his shell as a Giant. New York would love to keep him in place, but the price he may get in free agency may be more than Big Blue is able to pay.
18. Chris Gamble
Chris Gamble was undoubtedly one of the best corners the Carolina Panthers had on the team, but finances forced them to release Gamble. Again, one team's loss...you know the rest.
17. Ed Reed
A tricky player to place, Ed Reed could have come in anywhere on this list, from the top to the bottom. Age clearly slowed the future Hall Of Fame safety last season, but that did not keep him from making an interception on his way to a Super Bowl victory. He probably goes back to the Baltimore Ravens, but rumors have him playing in New England or Indianapolis, too.
16. Brent Grimes
Brent Grimes missed all of last season to an Achilles, but as long as he has recovered he could be the best corner in the pool.
15. Delanie Walker
Delanie Walker may have benefited from teams focusing in on Vernon Davis, but he still made the plays when the opportunities arose. It will be interesting to see what he can do as the number one tight end in another system.
14. Sean Smith
Sean Smith comes in as the best corner back on the free agent market. His frustrating tendency to resemble a shut-down corner one week, and then fall apart the next made it hard to put him at the top, but Grimes injury casts enough doubt that Smith's upside wins out.
13. Reggie Bush
Over the last two seasons Reggie Bush has made strides to prove himself as an every down, between the tackles type of back. The Miami Dolphins may not be willing to give him a pay raise, but someone certainly will.
12. Dashon Goldson
Dashon Goldson has been looking for a big payday for the last two seasons in a row. He may be able to command his price on the open market, but the money won't come from the San Francisco 49ers.
11. Andre Smith
An immediate boost to an offensive line, Andre Smith is going to be a hot commodity come Tuesday.
10. Ahmad Bradshaw
Ahmad Bradshaw has had his injury issues over the last several seasons, but it was still quite a surprise when the Giants released him. When Bradshaw was on the field, he was among the best at the position and will likely be running with a chip on his shoulders when he puts on a new uniform this fall.
9. Dannell Ellerbe
Dannell Ellerbe hit free agency at the perfect time in his career. Fresh off a Super Bowl win on a team that will be missing one of the greatest linebackers of all time, Ellerbe made all of the right tackles at just the right time to ensure a nice payday.
8. Andy Levitre
Underrated up until the point he became available to other teams, Andy Levitre should be a high priority for the Buffalo Bills.
7. Wes Welker
One of the greatest wide receivers of the last five years, Wes Welker will look strange in any uniform outside of New England's. If the money doesn't work though, Welker will need to find the right fit to remain atop the wide receiver food chain.
6. Sebastian Vollmer
One reason Welker may not find the money fhe wants in New England is Sebastian Vollmer. Young and talented, the Patriots need to be sure he remains in the fold.
5. Tony Gonzalez
Tony Gonzalez may have walked off of the field for the last time, but if he chooses to come back, the impact he has on an offense is immeasurable. He got close enough to the Super Bowl to smell its glory. That may be enough to get him to return for one more try.
4. Cliff Avril
The Detroit Lions failed to come to an agreement with Cliff Avril in either of the last two seasons. Now it looks as though they will lose one of the most productive members of their vaunted defensive line to free agency. He will likely be an overpaid commodity at the position, but he has the underlying skill to be worth the money.
3. Greg Jennings
A groin injury kept Greg Jennings on the sideline for most of last season, but that does little to diminish his ability to be a game-changer on offense. His absence allowed the Green Bay Packers to see how they could do without him on the team, and the money makes Jennings a free agent treasure.
2. Jake Long
Many may question why Jake Long ranks so high on this list, but all they have to do is look past his last season. He has been to the Pro Bowl four of the last five seasons, and his last outing was marred with injury. The Dolphins feel it is a gamble to pay Long the $11 million a year pay check, but if he is still the player he was before last season, someone is going to get the best offensive line in the NFL.
1. Mike Wallace
Despite the fact Mike Wallace isn't considered a complete wide out, he possesses the speed and ball skills to change the game in an instant. Added to the right offense and Wallace can make a team an instant contender. He may not have the "every play" importance of Jake Long, but Wallace scores touchdowns and puts points on the board. It makes him the highest impact player on the free agent market.